Cheering for Pomegranates

I am cheering about pomegranates. Beautiful, red, juicy pomegranates.  I love the deep red color and they remind me of fall and the winter holidays.  If you have never had a pomegranate cut one open, and you'll find pockets of tiny little seeds encased in juice. Though eating them is messy, the red juice will stain your fingers, they are so good for you because they contain high amounts of vitamin C and potassium.  They are time consuming to eat as well, if you just suck the juice from the seed and spit them out, kind of like sunflower seeds.  My husband grew up in Texas and ate them all the time. A neighbor who lived down the street had a pomegranate tree in their backyard.  He would go over there and pick the ripe fruit and eat them right there. That would pretty neat to have a pomegranate tree in your backyard.  I would have a bowl full of them all the time. There are many dishes that you can use pomegranates in. This salad, for example, is fantastic and it really reminds me of fall.  Sweet Honeycrisp apples, which are my absolute favorite, along with the vinaigrette, blue cheese, and candied walnuts is a delicious combination. The juicy crunch from little pomegranate seeds is another added sweet pop of flavor. I am considering making this salad as a part of Thanksgiving dinner buffet. Very easy to make, I hope you add this to your weekly dinners during the fall and winter months.

Green Lettuce with Apples, Candied Walnuts and Pomegranate Seeds
(Recipe adapted from The Dandelion, a restaurant in Philadelphia)

For the vinaigrette:
1 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
1 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/3 cup very mild olive oil, such as Filippo Berio Extra Light Olive Oil
Kosher Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

For salad:
1 head of green leaf lettuce, or  butter or Boston lettuce, gently torn
1 Honeycrisp apple, cut in half, sliced thinly
1 cup pomegranate seeds (about 1 pomegranate)
1/2 cup crumbles blue cheese

For candied walnuts: (Or use store bought)
1 small package chopped walnuts (about 2 onces)
1/3 cup sugar or light brown sugar

Whisk first four ingredients together in a small bowl.  Gradually pour oil and whisk together to combine.  Use can use a small blender or Cuisinart. Season with salt and pepper to your taste.

For candied walnuts, toast walnuts on a baking sheet for 5 to 7 minutes at 350.  Remove from oven.  Heat sugar in a pan until it begins to melt. I used light brown sugar and it took several minutes before the sugar began to melt.  When it does, add the walnuts and toss to coat with the sugar.  Add a pinch or two of salt.  let cool on baking sheet.

Combine the lettuce, apples, and walnuts.  Toss with dressing, you may not need all of it. Garnish with pomegranate seeds and blue cheese. Serves 4.


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